Making an early exit at the 2012 District 11 Little League tournament was a major disappointment for South Whidbey’s All-Stars.
For some of them, like 12-year-old Jon Bartel, it was an especially tough loss on the heels of playing in the 2010 state tournament in the 9/10 division.
“I’m excited,” he said, almost two weeks out from the district playoffs in Sedro-Woolley that begin July 1.
This year’s squad is on the younger end of its age bracket. Only four of the 11 players are considered 12 years old, based on their birthdate in relation to the start of the league season. The rest are 11 years old. That doesn’t bother head coach Eddie Sergeant, who trusts the players’ hitting and deep pitching rotation of eight hurlers.
“We should have a pretty good team,” Sergeant said.
“Everybody hits the ball pretty hard.”
Jon, who plays catcher, pitcher, shortstop and third base, added that the team’s chemistry is a bonus, especially in the infield. During a recent practice, he played shortstop and was on in the infield with fellow regular season Cubs teammates Casey Justus and Blaine Le Roy.
“We’re pretty good in the infield,” Bartel said. “We stay in front of the ball.”
South Whidbey is fortunate to have a luck-of-the-draw bye in the first round. The All-Stars will face either Central Whidbey of South Skagit on July 2.
To qualify for the state tournament, South Whidbey must win three games in a row, including a game on Independence Day. The state tournament is in Vancouver and begins July 13.
South Whidbey’s 11/12 All-Stars are: Jon Bartel, Kody Newman, Blaine Le Roy, Gabe Wilson, Jordan Ford, Elisha Sergeant, Nick Young, Carson Filla, Casey Justus, Dexter Jokinen, Alex Black.